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Poster: light into ashes Date: May 22, 2013 5:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Cream bits for WT

(The rest of you can ignore, but I'm sure WT will get a kick out of these.)

I've found a couple fantastic interviews where Garcia & Hart talk at length about Cream.

Frank Kofsky interviewed Garcia in early September 1967 (for Jazz & Pop magazine, but it wasn't published til it appeared in the Dead Studies vol. 1 book a couple years ago). Garcia had just seen Cream at the Fillmore, and he was obviously in awe, completely floored by them.

KOFSKY: I heard the Cream and it seems to me that if nothing else, the musicians in that band have a tremendous amount of stamina, a tremendous amount of endurance.
GARCIA: Absolutely.... I would say the Cream are damn near the best group there is... Their music is really strong. I mean, really strong... And it's not just a matter of volume, either. It's a matter of their understanding of time and their understanding of what they're doing. They have a very good picture of their music...and it's uniquely theirs. That's something incredible. That doesn't happen that often...

Later on -
KOFSKY: Who have you learned from recently?
GARCIA: The Cream.
KOFSKY: What about Jimi Hendrix? I've heard a lot of talk about him.
GARCIA: Nothing like the Cream. I mean, he's also got a three-piece band - similar sound, you know, because of the instrumentation - but the Cream is much heavier. They're much better musicians than Jimi Hendrix... You should have seen [Cream] at the Fillmore...cause they played with a lot of very heavy bands. They played with Gary Burton's band. They played with the Electric Flag. They played with Paul Butterfield's band and with Charlie Musselwhite's band. And they made them all sound pretty old-fashioned...
KOFSKY: I talked to Eric [Clapton] too, as a matter of fact...he mentioned Hendrix to me. That's one of the reasons I thought I'd ask you.
GARCIA: Well, you know, he probably thinks one way about Jimi Hendrix. I mean, Jimi Hendrix is very strong and he's got a fantastically good stage come-on... And he's a strong musician, too. I mean, he plays real good, and his ideas are good. He writes pretty good songs and stuff like that, but I really don't think that the whole level of that band is anything like Cream.
KOFSKY: He's one guy...but the Cream are three guys that are all -
GARCIA: Equally heavy.
KOFSKY: Yeah, definitely, it is a lot of an individual thing with the Cream... Whereas Jimi, it's always "Jimi Hendrix and blank blank." And the "blank blank" can be changed from day to day and wouldn't make much difference...
GARCIA: Right. The Cream have got a bigger thing together than Jimi Hendrix.

One thing that strikes me, aside from Garcia saying "Cream are damn near the best group there is," is that he mentions that they made all the heavy blues groups they played with sound old-fashioned, and lists all the other groups who played that Fillmore run. Which means he probably went to see at least a couple nights, despite the Dead playing out of town during part of Cream's run.

(By the way, the Rio Nido 9/3/67 show was the first the Dead played after seeing Cream. I wonder if this is one reason the Dead seem to go the extra mile in this show...)

Comstock Lode magazine interviewed Mickey Hart in 1981, which is the source for an oft-repeated comment by Hart on Cream. This is the full original context - Hart is talking about drummers that knocked him out:

"Ginger Baker did it for me once at the Winterland with Cream, we'd just finished mixing Aoxomoxoa or one of those [sic], and we walked in just as he was getting into his solo. It was amazing. I turned to Jerry and said, 'They have to be the best band in the world,' and he said, 'Tonight they are the best band in the world.' They were that night.
We invited them to play with us. We played in Sacramento [3/11/68], and Kreutzmann and I got really up for it. We got there and we played, and we were the best band in the world that night, no one could play like that. Ginger got crazy and they went out there and I really felt for them because they blew out every speaker on the first note. They were trying to reach our intensity. We were sitting in the front row and we thought about it, and so we got our equipment guys, Ramrod and Heard, to roll all our equipment out. They played through it, and it was so clear it scared the shit out of Clapton. They were used to feeding back through all their Marshalls. But Ginger was great, there aren't many drummers that can do that to me."

Numerous interesting things here. Hart misremembers what the Dead were recording (actually they were in the middle of the Anthem sessions), but he says they saw Cream at Winterland.
We can narrow down the day - Cream played Winterland on March 8-10, and the Dead were playing in Anaheim on March 8-9. As it happens, the photo of Garcia with Clapton is dated March 10, so that seems to be the most likely day they went to see Cream. (Possibly they went to see Cream's Winterland shows the weekend before, though.)
The 3/10/68 Cream show is where Crossroads & Spoonful on Wheels of Fire were recorded, as well as several numbers on later live Cream albums (Sweet Wine, NSU, Ulysses).
Strangely, Hart remembers arriving at the Cream show during Toad - which was the next-to-last song in Cream's set! (Followed by I'm So Glad to close the show.) Maybe the Dead got wrapped up in studio sessions that day (Constanten may have been in town to record his Anthem contributions).
I'm not sure if the Dead "invited" Cream to play with them on Sacramento on the next day - it would have been booked far in advance - but Hart remembers it as a very competitive thing. Though Cream may not have seen it that way! (In fact, Cream probably barely noticed the Dead - Jack Bruce later didn't even remember seeing them, and Cream were unanimous in being unimpressed by San Francisco's "psychedelic" bands.)
Cream's alarm at the Dead's "clean"-sounding amps is funny, and very similar to the Rolling Stones' reaction when they borrowed the Dead's equipment for an Oakland show in November '69. Note that both bands immediately went back to using their own equipment...

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2013-05-23 00:33:34

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: May 23, 2013 7:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

When I saw the subject line I was very hesitant to open this post. Glad I did though, excellent stuff. Thanks.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: May 23, 2013 7:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Cream bits? I thought maybe you meant the times the GD played Spoonful.

Bob's singing wouldn't turn WT into an 80s fan, but I like what I gather was the first one:

http://archive.org/details/gd81-10-15.aud-michael-the-belgian.unknown.25829.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: dark.starz Date: May 23, 2013 9:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Blues standard written and performed by Willie Dixon ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLx1j5Q-GKs

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Poster: segan63 Date: May 23, 2013 12:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I was born in 1970, so my experience with Cream was entirely in retrospect. I remember in the 80's hearing "I'm So Glad" from Goodbye on the radio(it must have been a Sunday Night to hear a song over 7 minutes that wasn't called "Free Bird" or "Stairway to Heaven").

In any case, I remember being blown away. I soon picked up the cassette of Goodbye and being equally amazed by the rest. I understand that there are a lot of Clapton haters out there, and he certainly never had the range or experimentation of Garcia, but he caught fire in a bottle with Baker and Bruce. Cream was the highlight, for me, of Clapton's long career.

Every now and then, I will still crank Toad or N.S.U. as loud as my speakers will handle, like right now...

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 23, 2013 7:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Thanks, really interesting . Whatever we think of Cream now, I think it is important to realize how blown away musicians were, as Jerry is here, and how much that would inspire much of the music we like .
The Hendrix thing is echoed elsewhere (I think in a 67 interview with Clapton himself) . I think Hendrix was growing as a player, and so was the "Experience" as a group , no doubt with Cream in mind . I think the Hendrix on stage "Come-on", made some musicians undervalue him as a musician , in 67 .
A year or 2 later, different story .

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Poster: snoori Date: May 23, 2013 12:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I have a vague memory of Clapton being given a 'Best Guitarist of the Year', and saying 'This should have gone to Jimi'.

I go through phases with Clapton. If I listen to him too much I have to put him back in the box for a while. Then when I do play him again I'm reminded of why I liked him in the first place.

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 22, 2013 8:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Thx, LiA; as I have droned on about so many times, my older brothers spoke in these exact same reverent tones about CREAM. They were v much up on the blues scene, esp Chicago and Brit groups aspiring to the sound, and felt that CREAM simply blew everyone else away...they were so proud of having been there when those tunes were recorded (both of them reminded me of that over the yrs whenever I would be playing WofFire).

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: May 23, 2013 6:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I had the good fortune to see CREAM several times. Once in one of Murray the K's Brooklyn Fox shows--with the Who as well. Dog and pony show--play 3 tunes and get the hell off the stage. I saw them in '67 at the Cafe Au GoGo--loud and thrilling---and at the Fillmore East, which was the best of the three. I wouldn't want to compare them with Hendrix or the Dead--each was its own, and each was brilliant (as were so many others). I think Clapton may have been best for technique, Garcia for vision, and Hendrix for balls. I don't care much for post Cream Clapton or post Experience Hendrix or post '72 Dead. To me, there was just this amazing musical ride that lasted for a brief time--but what a time it was.

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 23, 2013 11:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Bastard...my elder older brother, 8 yrs on me, really pissed me off w his reply to "did you see CREAM?" more than 40 yrs ago with "every night" (West Coast shows only, but still).

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: May 24, 2013 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Yeah, and they were gooooood.

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Poster: Tidewater four ten O nine Date: May 22, 2013 11:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

Shame Clapton wasn't as complimentary about Jerry. Also, if you read his autobiography, he seemed to have amnesia about Duane Allman's contribution to "Layla". Read "Midnight Riders" or "Skydog" for an alternative view.

Funny how you Yanks seem to adore Clapton over Jerry while we Brits seem to adore Jerry over that Clapton bloke ("other man's grass being greener" and all that). Personally, I wouldn't get out of bed to see/listen to him, even if he (Clapton) was playing 'live' at the bottom of my garden.

OK, a generalization, but lots of instances to support.

OK (#2), I'll don the kevlar body armour (ice-hockey gear) ready to suffer the slings and arrows, etc.,

I mean, can you imagine ("You look wonderful tonight") Clapton playing anything like the "Tighten' Up Jam" from "Dark Star" as per 2nd January 1970 ............ No, 'cos it's not the blues ..........

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: May 23, 2013 11:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

ah, but that blistering solo from "Crossroads" is seared in my mind even 45 years later.

There's no way I rate EC better than Garcia, but Clapton is no slouch either. (the old apples and oranges argument) So while I won't worship at his altar, there aren't too many guys who can both sing and play in such a wide range of styles and catalog. I particularly like his unplugged stuff and electric with BB King.

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Poster: Tidewater four ten O nine Date: May 25, 2013 8:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

yeah, sorry, forgot (how easy when senility arrives!).

make that 3 thumbs-up:

"Crossroads" Fillmore East, solo,

"Badge" - as a single, not to be judged in the same context as an album or a 'live' show, and

"Layla" with the slow walking blues stuff cropped, leaving just the original stuff and "Little Wing".

Thumbs-down:

too many to mention.

But you're right about the 'live' Crossroads ......

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Poster: Jacky Hughes Date: May 22, 2013 11:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I agree with you absolutely about Clapton Tidewater. He's massively over-rated.

I much prefer Jeff Beck and Ollie Halsall as guitarists to name just two.

The best bit of guitar playing on a Cream record is the George Harrison bit on 'Badge' (that simple and stunning arpeggio section before the chorus), as far as I am concerned.

Sorry WT, but I just can't get excited about Eric Clapton or Cream much at all.

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 23, 2013 10:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Brit & otherwise Forum Friends

JH/TW/LW: I actually agree w all three of you, I think...first, have NO interest in any of EC's work post CREAM, except for Bl Faith, which I view as cashing in on CREAM + Steve Winwood (one of THE greats, no two ways about it). Second, I have ALWAYS maintained that Eric was NOT the critical member of CREAM, rather, Jack was, and Baker was second behind him. Those two, though like EC, don't do ANYTHING for me post CREAM, as the keys. Last, put those three together, and it is pure magic; that was a sound and energy that had to be heard to be believed, though the Detroit show from fall, 67, their peak, does some service as "the next best thing to being there" or some such...

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: May 25, 2013 4:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Brit & otherwise Forum Friends

how does that go....?

greater than the sum of all its parts????

CREAM!

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Poster: BVD Date: May 23, 2013 10:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Brit & otherwise Forum Friends

Similar to you having an older brother, so did I growing up in NYC who saw Cream as well at a dive called The Action House as well as F.E.and he bragged on and on about it. Hell in 67-68 I was a babe of 14-15 but caught on quick thanks in large part to my brother. Not quick enough I guess. I did see Blind Faith in 69 I guess at MSG with a rotating stage. Dreadful. In the mid 70s? I saw a band that Jack Bruce put together at a tiny club in Roslyn N.Y.(My Father's Place) Point being I rather liked Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes and Jack's band. Agreed they were nothing near to Cream,however I feel they were still talented and creative in their own right. Jack Bruce made the bass a lead instrument before anyone as far as I know including Lesh and McCartney.EC is EC always liked him. Sort of like Neil Armstrong going to the moon. How do you top that? How do you top Cream? Now Mr. Baker is a whole other story.

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: May 25, 2013 4:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Brit & otherwise Forum Friends

just ask Geddy Lee.

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Poster: BVD Date: May 24, 2013 7:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Brit & otherwise Forum Friends

When I mentioned my brother saw them at F.E it was still called The Village Theatre.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: May 23, 2013 7:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

"Funny how you Yanks seem to adore Clapton over Jerry while we Brits seem to adore Jerry over that Clapton bloke"

Really?

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: May 23, 2013 5:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I also have to agree w/ Tidewater. When some people were visiting S.F. from Scotland they eventually became friends. Close ones at that, you know the city in itself has that transient feel. When Clapton came over and was playing the Cow Palace for the 461 Ocean Blvd tour they had no interest saying been there did that and I think they avoided YES also for the same reason.They were into the Dead but not to the extent we were and never went to the DOG shows in Oakland.Again like I was told once you see Hendrix or Floyd or Cream or the WHO you get the same show.Me I only saw The Who once, Cream 2x w/ the last show in the round in the Spectrum, and Hendrix 4x w/ the last walking off stage at the peace benifit concert at MSG.Floyd 4x and loved it every time.

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: May 23, 2013 6:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

at least give this a listen....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbo3I9Wd2Ec

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Poster: Tidewater four ten O nine Date: May 25, 2013 8:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Cream bits for WT

I have loads of his stuff (inc. his box set, Cream, Blind Faith, D&B, D & the D's and solo). It's not like I'm making sweeping statements based on nothing but ignorance. Imagine this:
"Badge" is one of my favourite singles (as favourite as singles go).
"Layla" is one of my favourite (Desert Island) albums - with most of the walking blues stuff cropped and leaving just the original stuff and the Hendrix cover.
After that, to me at least, it was just a very long and quiet steep decline into 'resting on laurels) land.
I have the Clapton/Santana 'sessions' - two copies (one slightly longer than the other -somewhere. Thank you Pirate sites, whichever ones you were I can't remember.

All in my very humble opinion, of course .......

P.S. Clapton box set (yawn) for sale - offers anyone ?